On November 5, 2012, FINRA’s Department of Enforcement initiated a Disciplinary Proceeding against Mark C. Hotton for allegedly funneling over $5,932,000 from his clients for his personal use, or to pay other investors. Mr. Hotton entered the securities industry in 1993 and joined Oppenheimer in 2005. He left Oppenheimer in 2009.
According to the Complaint, since at least July 24, 2006, Mr. Hotton engaged in numerous, varied and interrelated schemes to steal his clients’ money. He diverted funds to various entities he controlled, while his clients believed they were being invested in legitimate businesses. In other instances, he convinced his clients to invest in securities that did not exist. FINRA alleged that Mr. Hotton used numerous forged, fabricated and false documents, fictitious transactions, fictitious securities, false statements, and false and misleading account summaries to perpetuate his scheme.
The primary subject of FINRA’s Complaint is Mr. Hotton’s misappropriation of $5,932,000. In addition, Mr. Hotton caused millions of dollars in clients’ losses resulting from churning and excessive trading, exercising discretion without authorization, and recommending unsuitable transactions. Furthermore, Mr. Hotton also caused at least an additional $2,584,078 to be wired from his clients’ accounts at Oppenheimer, to his outside business activities and other entities and individuals with whom he was affiliated.
During FINRA’s investigation, Mr. Hotton is alleged to have repeatedly lied under oath, provided false written statements, and forged and fabricated documents. Furthermore, Mr. Hotton willfully failed to disclose and/or misleadingly described a customer arbitration, settlements, and civil actions on his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U-4). Mr. Hotton’s registrations were terminated on May 31, 2012. Mr. Hotton is currently not associated with any FINRA member firm.